The Numbers don’t lie. I checked, and except the one year when I was traveling for work and staying at Hiltons (because that’s where work put me, and as long as they were paying, well…), we’ve stayed at Marriott properties more than any other hotel brand every year since 2017.
It’s impossible to separate the hotels from the Marriott Bonvoy program. But if I evaluate the guest experience independent of the sub-par loyalty benefits, we generally have a good time at Marriott Properties. I’m sure most guests care more about how their stay was than if their Suite Night Award upgrade cleared or if they were thanked for their loyalty at check-in.
There are several things to like about Marriott:
Consistency Across Core Brands
If you’re staying at a Courtyard by Marriott, you can be somewhat confident about what you’ll get. Sure, there are some below-average outliers, but there are also some charming Courtyards out there.
We’ve found the same with the Residence Inn and Fairfield Inn brands.
Interesting Hotels In Their Portfolio
Marriott has 30 different brands under its umbrella, so there will be some variance between the types of hotels. I’ve already said that we like the consistency of some brands. But the different hotels offered in the Luxury Collection, Autograph Collection, Renaissance Hotels and Tribute Hotels make stays special. From small boutique properties like The Epicurean in Tampa, FL, to iconic locations in London’s St. Pancras or the amazing Goldener Hirsch in Salzburg, Austria, all of them are part of the Marriott Family.
We Even Like Their Quirky Brands
You have to credit Marriott for taking big swings with new brands. Despite not being their core demographic, we liked our stay at the Moxy in Phoenix but can can see how it might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
The same goes for our stays at Element and AC Hotels. While we might not be their target market, we liked both brands enough to stay there again. The only brand we’re avoiding is W Hotels as our stays haven’t been great.
I can’t avoid the fact that we have 4 Marriott co-brand credit cards that each award a free night certificate on your account anniversary. So that’s at least 4 nights at Marriott hotels every year. In addition, we get Marriott Bonvoy points when readers use our links to sign up for credit cards.
But I look at it this way. If I hated our stays at Marriott Hotels, I wouldn’t keep the credit cards for the free nights.
When I think about our stays at Marriott Hotels, I’m not thinking about getting Bonvoyed. Instead, I remember our stays at the Westin Tokyo and the Le Meriden in Frankfurt.
We’ve had numerous stays that have been spectacularly average, which really is all I’m looking for during most of our trips. I can count the number of bad ones on one hand, which could happen with any hotel brand.
I’m not wearing rose-colored glasses. I’m aware of the issues that people have had with Marriott and the difficulty of getting a resolution when things go wrong.
I’m looking at our hotel stays and wondering if it’s worth sticking with Marriott. We’d love to switch to Hyatt but they still don’t have enough properties when traveling outside the big cities. I could see us splitting our stays between the two brands, as I think that’s the best solution to our first world non-problem.
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